Hello to my friends and fellow colleagues
I am requesting your vote for American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) Treasurer. I am presently a member board of directors and experienced in understanding the needs of our college. Each of us have worked hard and achieved many rewarding things in the practice of medicine and each of us has a story to tell. Through the years in ACOEM I have already met and come to know many of you, but for those who I haven’t, let me take a moment and get better acquainted.
I am a native Californian, graduating from Cal and the University of Southern California School of Medicine. My post graduate training was at a Rural Family Medicine Residency from the University of Wyoming. When I initially came to Oroville in 1985 as a rural Family Practitioner with the Public Health Service, I never imagined myself in Occupational Medicine. After leaving the Public Health Service, I worked as an Emergency Medicine physician and then took the position of managing the Industrial Medicine Department and Outpatient Clinics at Oroville Hospital, which I did for 10 years. I really enjoyed the Occupational Medicine part of my job, joined ACOEM and started taking training courses in Occupational medicine. My life went through some changes and I found myself single and raising two teenagers on my own. Neither wanted to leave the area, so my best option was to set up my own practice. My great personal passion is fly fishing so that did turn out to be a benefit to living in Northern California. I picked this place and built my life here, and from setting up and running a business while raising teenagers and meeting my beautiful wife, it has been the greatest experience of my life. I learned much about persistence, innovation and especially patience and I am convinced it is something that I would not have learned otherwise, and I can honestly say, “I have enjoyed the ride.”
The Organization I Love
I have been a member of ACOEM for over 20 years. I am active in my component society, Western Occupational Environmental Medical Association as well as ACOEM. Our organization has meant everything to me. Starting in a rural practice, I was without colleagues in this specialty anywhere close. All of the resources that the College makes available were essential to my success and I made many friends though our yearly meetings. In the spirit of giving back, I participate in many professional activities. As mentioned, I am serving presently as a member of ACOEM Board of Directors and served on the WOEMA Board of directors. I am currently Co-Chair of the Private Practice Section, Secretary of the Public Safety Section, Co-Chair of WOEMA Legislative Committee and involved in numerous task-forces, councils and projects. I especially enjoy teaching clinical medicine courses at AOHC with my good friend Doug Martin.
Building a Community Occupational Medical Practice
I am a privately practicing occupational medicine physician, with two offices in Butte County California; Chico and Oroville. Opening a practice was a very big decision for me. My goal was to develop a practice that emphasized community occupational care, focusing on the needs of the employers and their workers based upon the strengths of our community. This involved developing personal relationships with community members and understanding their particular needs; often they had a lot to say! My business is successful and has grown and expanded. California Occupational Medical Professionals has become an integral part of the community and the premiere Occupational Medicine Practice and I serve as physician to our Law Enforcement Officers as well as several Fire Department.
Practicing in one place for 20 years ties you to a community in many other ways as well; ways you may not understand until tragedy strikes. The Town of Paradise California accounting for about one third of my practice disappeared in smoke and fire on a November morning 2018. Everything has now changed. The towns of Chico and Oroville are overcrowded with many of the displaced fire evacuees, we are short on physicians, our cities are understaffed, and workers overworked. We are all trying to pick-up and help were and whenever. Financially, it initially hit me hard, but now with the recovery effort underway, I am greatly overworked. At age 67, I was beginning to step away from the day-to-day practice. Now, I am back to seeing patients daily, for the duration.
Focused on Financial Management
When I opened my practice, the only real management experience I had was from my time as Medical Director for the Outpatient Clinics at Oroville Hospital. This was helpful, in that I knew how to manage employees and keep a budget, but day to day financial decisions was something I had to learn on the job. Through the years the business has grown and is now a corporation. The success of which has required difficult financial decisions, budgeting priorities and being open to new ideas and emerging markets. It has also required me to roll with the punches, learning to manage during adversity, and innovate with new opportunity. Life continues to teach, you must accept all challenges, the good with the bad and carry on the best you can.
Thanks to ACOEM’s diligent management team we are presently sound, however we will face many financial challenges and uncertainty in the upcoming years, and I believe some changes must be made. I know from my own business this can be unsettling, but it also presents new opportunities and chances to grow. There are many challenges ahead, from the need to increase membership, to supporting and enhancing the education and clinical skills of our members, to the possibilities of expanding our relationships with other medical organizations, all will be salient issues for our organization and I believe that I have the experience and the skill to help guide our organization.
I sincerely thank you for your time and consideration and hope I can earn your vote.